Community Kids Get Into Housing Rehab

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Payson Community Kids, the group of young people led by Marcy Rogers, is branching out from neighborhood and street clean-ups into housing rehabilitation.

It's more logical than it sounds, and not just because Rogers is the housing coordinator for the town of Payson.

"We take care of basic needs, and what's more basic than housing?" Rogers said.

While there are several housing rehab programs available to Rim country residents, the services provided by Payson Community Kids fill niches the other programs don't.

"The other programs we have -- the state, the county and the town -- they're all for owner-occupied and they're all for low income," Rogers said. "And the town can't help people who own their own manufactured home if it's in a park because you have to own your own property too."

The program, which is supported by the Arizona Women's Partnership and the Central Arizona Board of Realtors, also is more flexible.

"Because the others are all government programs, we can't do a lot of run-in-and-fix-this, run-in-and-fix-that," Rogers said. "But if you look at what the kids' program has done, what's really been our priority is broken toilets and faucets that are running water. We can usually replace those within a day or two."

So far, rehab projects include 11 new toilets, four new faucets, a new roof on a mobile home, a new security door, a new kitchen counter, and a new exterior paint job on a mobile home. A total of 26 people have benefited from the projects, primarily low-income women.

Payson Community Kids is made up of children with special needs ranging from 18 months to 14 years. The group's board of directors does the actual rehab work, but Marcy's kids get a lot out of the program anyway.

"The kids' homes are a priority, so their families benefit," Rogers said. "Plus they know we're doing housing rehab and that gives them self esteem."

The Realtors group matched a $2,500 grant from the Waters Foundation, and an Arizona Women's Partnership fund-raiser later this month will provide additional funding.

For more information on the various owner-occupied/income qualified rehab programs, contact Rogers at (928) 474-5242, ext. 2269. These include town of Payson owner-occupied rehab, Gila County owner-occupied rehab, and USDA Rural Development.

The state offers home-buyer down-payment programs along with the required counseling classes. Income standards are based on HUD guidelines and age qualifications, and lower income standards are placed on some of the county and USDA rural development programs.

The county also offers a weatherization program.

"They can work on mobile homes in trailer parks, leaking roofs, broken windows, heating, electrical and cooling," Rogers said. "They can't do water and plumbing, but the kids can."

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